Dear Harlan: We are from the Midwest and our daughter is a freshman at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colo. She has had a boyfriend for more than a year now who has decided to stay local for college.
My husband, our son and I are excited to go to spend the weekend with her. She has been talking about having her boyfriend visit the same weekend due to the fact that he will not have classes on that Monday.
That puts me in a predicament. My husband does not want to “share” her that weekend. He does not want to travel there and not get to spend time with her — not to mention the fact that he will be uncomfortable with the entire situation. He has announced to me that he will not attend family weekend if her boyfriend goes.
I do not want her to feel like she has to choose between us and her boyfriend, but I want to pass along how we feel and perhaps suggest a different weekend when her boyfriend can visit.
I know that she misses us, and I respect the fact that she misses her boyfriend, too. She just started classes and is trying to adjust to living far away from home. I hate adding more stress to her life, but I feel the need to let her know how we feel. Any advice?
— Conflicted College Mom
Dear Conflicted: I totally get that it’s not the right weekend for a boyfriend visit. You want dedicated time with your daughter. Besides, she will be pulled in different directions.
The trick is to make this less about you and more about her. Start with how much you agree that she should spend time with her boyfriend. Then, explain that she’s going to be pulled in different directions when you visit.
Family weekend is a time to spend time together without having added pressure. You want her to have an uninterrupted visit. You also want her to spend some quality time with her boyfriend without the family distractions.
Ask her to pick another weekend. Tell her you want to treat her and her boyfriend to a nice dinner when he visits.
Make absolutely no threats. They don’t work. That will just make this all about you and Dad. Hopefully, she will understand and appreciate that it’s not the best idea to share the weekend.